NEWS July 2013

See the NominationsFinnish monitoring manufacturer Genelec is sponsoring the 2013 Resolution Awards and will be associated exclusively with the campaign this year.
‘We are extremely pleased to have the Resolution Awards sponsored by Genelec – a brand that is recognised throughout the industry for a commitment to quality and innovation that now spans 35 years. With no Genelec products nominated this year this is an opportunity for a completely impartial association,' said executive editor Zenon Schoepe. The sponsor will have no influence or guidance on the nature or the results of the Resolution Awards.
'The introduction of the Creative Awards categories -- to recognise the achievements of individuals in music recording, broadcast and post -- has added breadth to our Awards, which are already accepted as a meaningful measure of product quality and innovation as judged by an extremely discerning voting readership. We now encompass the products and the practitioners in the Awards, just as we do in Resolution,' he said.
‘After 35 years in the business of creating active monitoring loudspeakers and introducing numerous new technologies and innovations that have become standard in the industry, it is an honour for us to act as the main sponsor for Resolution’s Creative Awards,’ said Genelec marketing and PR director Lars-Olof Janflod. ‘It gives us a chance to award and appreciate the work of our customers.’

Electra Partners has acquired mixing console manufacturer Allen & Heath from D&M Holdings. £43 million of equity and debt has been provided by Electra Private Equity and Allen & Heath’s management. Allen & Heath’s existing team and distribution networks will remain in place.
‘The ability to invest across the capital structure, in this case funding both the equity and debt instruments, is a great example of Electra’s flexible investment mandate being put to work to ensure a swift completion for the vendor and a straightforward structure for the business to capitalise on both organic and acquisitive growth opportunities,’ said Alex Fortescue, chief investment partner at Electra Partners.
‘Allen & Heath is a leader in a niche market with an excellent track record of year-on-year growth,’ added Charles Elkington, Investment Partner at Electra Partners. ‘We believe that the company has a bright future and we will be looking to work with Glenn Rogers and his team to grow the business through further investment in new product development, improved marketing and distribution, and through acquisition.’
‘We have an excellent catalogue of existing products and a number of exciting prospects in development,’ said Glenn Rogers (pictured), MD at Allen & Heath. ‘We see opportunity for expansion into new areas and look forward to building Allen & Heath’s long-term future alongside Electra Partners.’

Mix engineer Mark 'Spike' Stent has bought a pair of PMC twotwo.6s compact monitors as part of a refurbishment of his home mix suite in southern England, supervised by his long-term studio manager Chris Binns.
Stent divides his time between the UK and LA and since his UK studio rebuild was completed early in 2013, he has mixed albums by Moby, Rudimental and Hurts, as well as forthcoming releases by White Lies and Beady Eye.
‘I have been using the same speakers for years, and haven't changed anything for a long time. The twotwos sound fantastic in here: the imaging, the depth, and the punch. I'm very happy with them,’ he said.

Harman has signed a licensing agreement with Oxford Digital Limited, granting the rights to use Oxford Digital’s proprietary filter technologies in AKG, BSS, Crown, dbx, JBL, Lexicon, Soundcraft, and Studer products.
‘Oxford Digital brings many unique filter and EQ feature sets which will augment the capabilities of products across our portfolio,’ said Mark Ureda, VP, strategy and technology for the Harman Professional Division. ‘The user interfaces they have developed for these complex processing algorithms are remarkably intuitive to use.’

Røde Microphones has purchased the FiRe audio recording application for Apple iOS devices from developer Audiofile Engineering. In the next few months RØDE will release improved versions of its existing app based on the FiRe platform, RØDE Rec, and is working on new, advanced hardware.
‘When we first looked at the smartphone market as a development area for RØDE, I knew that it wasn’t enough to just make a hardware product,’ said Røde president, Peter Freedman. ‘Røde’s goal from day one was to create a complete recording solution -- a platform that we can build around. In conjunction with its developers, Audiofile Engineering, we built Røde Rec to further enhance its already impressive audio capabilities, as well as providing high-resolution support for all our hardware products, and the world’s first 24/96 field recorder for iOS the iXY.’

Classic BBC radio series The Navy Lark has been reissued as the Navy Lark Collector's Edition series. ‘Many of the episodes were not kept by the BBC and others only existed as edited versions for Transcription Service issue,’ explained project engineer and former BBC sound engineer, Ted Kendall, ‘so I had to source the missing material from wherever it could be found.’
‘One source proved particularly valuable,’ he continued. ‘I discovered that another BBC engineer had taped many of the episodes at home on his Ferrograph recorder. He did so from the VHF transmissions and, because his equipment was skilfully used, it should have been possible -- with a touch of CEDAR restoration and equalisation -- to make them sound like studio tapes. Unfortunately, the recorder was usually operated by a time switch, and it drifted in speed by up to 6% as it warmed up during the course of each half-hour programme.’
Initially, Ted attempted to solve the problem by operating the machine's varispeed controls but then CEDAR Audio released the Respeed process for its CEDAR Cambridge audio workstation. ‘This made it quick and simple to correct the speed throughout each episode,’ Kendall explained. ‘Respeed works with speech because it looks at the whole signal, not just things such as the harmonics in notes, or bias tones running throughout the material. Having said that, many of the Navy Lark recordings included a mild and inoffensive mains hum, so it was simplicity itself to instruct the software to ensure that this remained at a constant frequency, and then remove the hum after it had been used as a guide.’

The Pure Audio Group, initially conceived at Midem 2013, took place in Berlin recently with international representatives from the music and audio industry all agreeing to establish Pure Audio Blu-ray as the high-end physical sound recording format for high-resolution stereo and surround music productions. The organisation will act as a registered and representative body who will decide on strategic matters related to the Pure Audio Group. A total of 42 members have agreed on the founding of the Group and an additional 51 have expressed interest in working with it.
The attending members agreed on a unified Pure Audio Standard with an operating concept that is described in the AES 21ID specifications published in 2011. The standard also conforms to all Blu-ray Disc specifications. The Pure Audio Blu-ray disc offers functionalities similar to CD and is distinguished from other Blu-ray Discs by screen-less navigation, simple operation using the Blu-ray player remote, track selection by using the numeric keys on the remote, a multiple audio streams option and selection of the audio stream by using the coloured buttons on the remote.

Engineer Ross A’hern specialises in Australian improvised music with The Chapel of Sound recording most of the projects on location with mixing and mastering done back at base. A Pyramix enthusiast since 2006, Ross has accumulated many classic items of equipment over the years. The concept is to have a mobile system that will adapt to recording situations and an accurate monitoring environment to bring it back to for mixing and mastering. With this second aim in mind, a Smart AV Tango was chosen for its integration with Pyramix. Ross recently added DXD and DSD multitrack capability to his portable Pyramix using a Horus fitted with 24 channels of analogue I-O. This makes him one of the few recording services in Australia offering DXD and DSD.
The rig was used to record a jazz album at Sydney’s Studio 301 for Ben Gurton and his producer Greg Simmons and was later mixed at The Chapel. ‘The differences aren’t immediately dramatically apparent, but there is a beautiful and effortless openness to the top end in DXD and this effect has a ripple-down effect through the whole frequency range,’ he said.

Frank Zappa's wife Gail and daughter Diva visited Bernie Grundman Mastering  during the vinyl remastering by Chris Bellman of the historic Freak Out! album, which was the 1966 debut album of Frank Zappa with the Mothers of Invention.
‘One of the things I hate about a rerelease, is that people today feel they should rereview it,’ Gail Zappa remarked. ‘No thanks, because this album was designed for a certain mindset at that time, 1966. If no one had made that record in the first place, we would still be waiting for an artist to make an album like that. Freak Out! really opened the doors in many ways for what is possible today.’
(L-R) Joe Travers, drummer and Zappa archives Vaultmeister; Diva Zappa; Gail Zappa; Noel Fielding; Chris Bellman.

New Product Releases

The first product launched by Thermionic Culture in 1998 was the Phoenix stereo valve compressor it was followed soon after by The Culture Vulture, the first piece of outboard gear solely dedicated to enhancing sound by introducing all-valve harmonic distortion.
The Culture Vulture Super 15 is the most comprehensive Vulture to date. It incorporates all the features found on the 11th Anniversary edition, such as the seven extra distortion functions, but also now features a 2-position Presence switch. The Drive switch has three positions with a +10dB option sitting squarely between Normal and Overdrive, enabling users to make their sounds ‘a little more crunchy’ with increased brightness. The Function switch now offers further enhancements including special dynamic tuneable mid-lift in the P positions and extra drastically-processed harmonics in the SQ positions.
The Output Level controls have a -10dB attenuator that can be used in conjunction with Drive +10dB for comparison purposes or just to reduce high levels.
The module’s line inputs are balanced while the line plus low level outputs are unbalanced. Five NOS military-grade valves are used for long life, low noise and enhanced performance, mirroring The Culture Vulture Mastering Plus. The dials now go up to 15! It does have a bit more gain, also the max output level has been increased to easily drive a DAW at +18dBm.

Maag Audio’s EQ2 is a 2-band EQ in 500-series format. A single channel unit it features Maag’s Air Band and a Low Mid Frequency bell boost from Sub to 1.4kHz with tight and wide curves and an input attenuation control providing -12.5dB of attenuation. The EQ2’s Air Band boasts an additional 15kHz frequency selection.

JZ Microphones has expanded its product range with the budget J series. The first product is the J1, which is completely handcrafted in Latvia, and is housed in a flat-shaped and grey-coloured body with a shockmount already included in the set. A wire mesh grill covers the capsule with a diaphragm of 21mm, which is produced using JZ Microphones’ Golden Drop technology.

Universal Audio's UAD Software V7.1 provides enhancements to the Apollo Audio Interface. Key among them is Flex Routing, which allows inputs to be routed to hardware outputs, headphone bus routing, as well as selectable pre/post Aux send. V7.1 also features the Pultec Passive EQ Plug-In Collection and the Millennia NSEQ-2 Plug-In.
Flex Routing allows routing of up to eight console channel inputs to hardware outputs with optional monitor mirroring. Hardware outputs include analogue, ADAT, SPDIF, and AES-EBU.

Drawmer's active MC2.1 three-way monitor controller has four inputs and up to three pairs of stereo speakers, plus a mono subwoofer, may be connected and active at any one time in any combination. Level trims are available for each channel and there are two headphone amplifiers and a talkback microphone, all with individual level controls. The two main inputs, and all of the balanced stereo outputs, are Neutrik XLRs with Input 2 being a Combi, while the Aux input is via phonos or stereo 3.5mm jack.
The front panel is dominated by the output volume control, which incorporates a paralleled quad pot for channel matching and smooth action. Switches are included to activate audio sources and output speaker pairs in any combination, along with Left/Right Cut controls and an overall Mute switch. Phase Reverse and Mono summing buttons are also included. The unit has timed relay protection on all speaker outputs.

Apogee’s Symphony 64 | ThunderBridge is a 64-channel interface for connecting Apogee’s Symphony I/O to any Thunderbolt-equipped Mac. Capable of 64 channels of I-O at sample rates up to 192kHz, it features two Thunderbolt ports for taking advantage of the Thunderbolt protocol’s ability to daisy-chain up to six Thunderbolt devices. This allows for devices such as hard drives and DisplayPort monitors to be connected in series with Symphony 64 | ThunderBridge to the Mac via a single Thunderbolt port.
Symphony 64 | ThunderBridge will also connect Apogee’s X-Symphony equipped AD-16X, DA-16X and Rosetta Series convertors to Thunderbolt Macs for legacy compatibility. Existing users of these devices will need to update to the most current software/firmware available on Apogee’s website before connecting to Symphony 64 | ThunderBridge.

Elysia’s xfilter 500 is a true stereo EQ in 500 series format with an all Class-A audio path. It offers high- and low-shelf bands, both of which can be switched into high- and low-cut filters with resonance — a feature from the museq EQ. The xfilter 500 also provides two mid-peak filters with wide or narrow Q. It has a switchable fixed LC filter for the high frequency and this passive filter consists of a capacitor and a coil per channel that produce a slight resonance peak around 12kHz.
By linking its two channels, the xfilter eliminates the task of matching settings. The potentiometers are stepped.

The PMC’s twotwo.8 is the largest in the range, which already includes the twotwo.5 and twotwo.6. With its 8-inch bass driver, the twotwo.8 is capable of a higher maximum SPL (up to 115dB) and greater bass extension than its smaller siblings (down to 35Hz), but is otherwise consistent with the twotwo.5 and twotwo.6 in terms of sound and feature-set. As with the smaller twotwo models, the twotwo.8 combines Advanced Transmission Line bass loading and digital signal processing. It has analogue phono and XLR inputs plus an AES3 digital input.

  • BIRTV, Beijing, 21-14 August
  • IBC, Amsterdam, 13-17 September
  • Plasa, London, 6-9 October
  • Broadcast India, Mumbai, 9-11 October
  • AES, New York, 17-20 October
  • Satis, Paris, 19-21 November
  • Natexpo, Moscow, 19-21 November
  • NAMM, Anaheim, 24-27 January 2014
  • ISE, Amsterdam, 4-6 February
  • BVE, London, 25-27 February
  • Prolight + Sound, Frankfurt 12-15 March
  • NAB, Las Vegas, 7-10 April
In Resolution
  • The Fraser T Smith interview
  • Plug-ins Supplement
  • John Delf: balancing studio with live
  • The business of streaming comes good for music
  • Immersive sound for cinema
  • Vote Now in the Resolution Awards!

Plus regular columns by Dan Daley, John Watkinson and Dennis Baxter and reviews of the Tascam DR-60D, AwTAC Awesome Channel Amplifier, Benchmark DAC2D, iZotope Ozone 5 Advanced, Steinberg Wavelab 8 and UA UAD Ocean Way Studios.